Last Updated on October 5, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
Are you a devoted plant parent with an unwavering love for the Monstera?
Then you should definitely consider adding this stunning variegated plant to your plant collection.
If you are new to the world of cultivation and the variegated Monstera varieties are alien to you, then this is the article for you.
Today we shall take you through some general information about the variegated Monstera and then draw more detailed attention to two specific species of this lovely plant, namely the Thai constellation Monstera and the Monstera albo borsigiana.
The Monstera plant is mainly cultivated for its amazing decorative leaves.
It is a genus comprised of about 22 different varieties of plants.
The Monstera is native to the south of Mexico and Central America and its natural habitat is located in tropical forests. It is safe to say that these exotic plants can be classified as tropical plants.
You might have heard some people referring to the Monstera as the Swiss cheese plant. This nickname was given to the plant due to the holes or gaps that its foliage carries.
As the name already gives away, the Monstera can grow up to heights of 30 feet tall when becoming a full-size plant.
It is a monstrous but gorgeous plant.
Having said this, it is a good thing to know that massive plants like the variegated Monstera come with outrageous price tags.
In other words, it is an expensive plant, to say the least.
Being a newbie to the plant world comes with many challenges.
One of them is the strange terms found in the world of plants. I mean ‘variegated’, what does that even mean?
Variegation in terms of plants is when a plant stem and foliage of your plant are present with distinct individual colors or markings.
The different shades of colors of variegation found in variegated leaves may include contrasting tones of green, white, off-white, or even yellow.
And the two different types of variegation are known as the marble variegation or the sectoral variegation, also known as half-moon or split-leaf variegation.
Each Monstera species is named after the type of pattern or color variegation it carries.
These include the Monstera borsigiana albo, the Monstera borsigiana aurea and the Monstera deliciosa sport, just to name a few.
What Causes Variegation?
Foliage variegation and leaf patterns are seldom a natural occurrence. Biologically, it does not make sense for a plant to naturally create white colors in its leaves. White leaves, for example, are a sign of lack of chlorophyll in the leaves.
Chlorophyll is what gives foliage its green color and is also needed to carry out photosynthesis.
This again means that the white part of the plant won’t be able to produce energy through photosynthesis, which in turn means that it is making the green part of the leaf work overtime to supply the plant with enough energy to grow.
This being said, plant enthusiasts have come to the conclusion that variegated plants are most often created via breeding and gene mutation in labs.
The mosaic disease is often confused for variegation.
This virus charges and damages plant cells found in plant tissue. This is then followed by discoloration of its foliage leaving them with a mosaic pattern, hence the name.
Also, be careful of yellowing leaves, which may have you fooled for variegation.
This can be caused by a deficiency of magnesium and iron.
The variegated Monstera plant is able to change its foliage to natural green variegation again as its surrounding environment and conditions change.
These changes are mostly dependant on sunlight levels and temperature ranges.
Why the Big Pricetag?
Why are variegated Monsteras so incredibly expensive?
Simple! It’s basic economics.
Low supply + high demand = increased price rate.
The Monstera plant is rare due to its slow propagation, and it is popular and in high demand among people due to its fantastic beauty.
Plant lovers will spend a lot of money to source a Monstera and add it to their coveted plant collection.
What better way to beautify your Instagram gardening page than to add a picture of one of 2020’s best-rated indoor houseplants.
And so the circle continues. Suppliers and online sellers tyrannize over market prices, demand from plant lovers remains high and so the price rate of this beautiful plant skyrockets.
Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let us move on to covering all you need to know about the two main species of the variegated Monstera. Namely, the Monstera albo borsigiana and the Thai constellation Monstera.
Thai Constellation Monstera vs Monstera Albo Borsigiana
If you have read this far, we believe that you have jumped into the deep end and decided to commit yourself to purchasing and caring for either one of these species of Monstera variegated varieties.
Without further ado, we shall provide you with all the information needed to care for and grow this stunning indoor plant.
Continue reading for some great care guide tips.
We will get you started on the Thai constellation Monstera care and then move on to covering the Monstera albo borsigiana.
Thai Constellation Monstera
The Monstera Thai constellation is one of the Monstera varieties that is fantastic for any trendy houseplant lover.
They are extremely popular in the plant world and are known for their beautiful foliage, which resembles classic Monstera leaves, but they are variegated.
The inter-nodular space — which is the distance from the stem to the leaves — of the Thai constellation is quite short.
This short node stick is what makes it more compact, giving it a bushy appearance.
The type of variegation found in this plants foliage makes up a marbled variegation pattern.
The combination of green and cream color blotched across their magnificent leaves takes after the design of a great marble slab. This genetic mutation is due to a lack of chlorophyll in the leaves.
The name constellation also comes from the color patterns that appear on these plants stunning leaves.
The light patches among the green form a spottiness of colors that often looks like a dark sky covered in stars — constellation-like variegation.
But where does this beauty come from?
The Thai constellation Monstera is of the Monstera deliciosa variegata plant species and was originally produced in a tissue culture lab focusing on genetic mutation.
The lab was located in Thailand, which is why ‘Thai’ is part of the name.
The variegated Monstera deliciosa is the parent plant of the Thai constellation Monstera and they are both native to the tropical areas of Panama, Central America and also southern Mexico.
They are both shrubs that climb upwards when growing, and they are most fond of humid and warm climates with indirect bright light.
The Thai constellation Monstera is a very slow-growing plant very fussy about its surrounding environment, making it a bit of a high maintenance plant. This is what makes it slightly different from the Monstera deliciosa.
The Thai constellation is extremely rare and in high demand.
At a 2020 International Plant Expo, it was given the grand title of the ‘Favorite New Foliage Plant’.
They can sometimes be found in grocery stores and online, but are often sold out immediately after Costa Farms releases them.
Some people go to such lengths as to camp out outside of the store to get their hands on one of these gorgeous plants. Thai monsters are most commonly sold as baby plants.
Be aware of flippers when going plant shopping. These are very common when it comes to rare plants that are as trendy as the Thai constellation.
They go around stalking plant stores for rare plants, buy them when they find them and then resell them at a ridiculous markup.
Let’s Talk Light
Due to the chlorophyll mutation in the Thai constellations leaves, the areas that carry the cream color are unable to take up any sunlight.
This means that the Monstera Thai constellation needs to work twice as hard as other plants to turn sunlight into energy during the process known as photosynthesis.
This brings me to my point. Light is an extremely crucial part when cultivating this shrub.
As mentioned before, the mother plant, Monstera deliciosa, naturally grows in tropical areas with great amounts of bright but indirect light. The Thai constellation requires the same or more light.
Areas of little to no light should be avoided. It may cause growth to slow or discoloration of foliage. Too much light is also not great, this might leave its delicate leaves scorched.
Keeping your Monstera Thai constellation under a grow light makes for a good and controlled light environment. The advantage here is that a growing light does not release any heat, which eliminates the danger of burning your shrub.
The Thai constellation may be moved outside during warmer months — commonly during spring and summer. If you decide to do this, be sure to place it in a bright but shaded area. Direct sunlight should always be avoided.
The Thai cancellation is an epiphyte and has exceptionally sensitive aerial roots.
These roots are very prone to catching root rot if not watered properly.
A good thing to get used to is to check how dry the soil is before adding water.
The top inches of the soil should be dry when watering again. A moisture meter is also of great help, to avoid soggy soil.
Watering would be necessary about once a week during the warmer months and less frequent during winter. When drops of water start forming on the tips of the Thai constellations plants leaves, take it as a sign of overwatering.
Dense soil or heavy soil is another obvious sign to go by.
When watering the Thai constellation too seldomly, its leaves will start to wilt and growth will slow down.
The challenge is finding that sweet spot of just the right amount of moistness vs dryness.
Monstera Albo Borsigiana
When it comes to popularity, the variegated Monstera albo is a close second to the Thai Monstera.
The stunning Monstera albo borsigiana is most commonly known for its stunning variegation of pure white.
Its variegation pattern is more chunky, which makes it different from the Monstera Thai.
Pure white leaves are commonly seen when the Albo borsigiana becomes a mature plant.
As are completely green leaves. This is due to the unstable variegation caused by a natural mutation in the stem and leaf node.
The size of the leaves on the Monstera albo is also know to be much smaller than those of the Thai Monstera. This gives the plant a more compact appearance as it grows.
The leaves are, however spaced further apart due to the extended leaf node, which causes this plant to grow like a vine.
The node without leaves makes it look less lush. Provide the albo with a moss pole to assist in climbing.
The mutation of the Monstera deliciosa albo variegata occurs naturally. The plant cells develop random mutations in a way that they stop producing chlorophyll.
This cell mutation happens in the stem but appears on the leaves as variegation.
Seeds of the Albo borsigiana will not develop into variegated plants.
A new variegated albo can only be produced from cuttings of a parent plant. This is also how the plant is usually sold, in the form of a plant cutting taken from a mother plant.
A mature albo is hard to find as an item of purchase, due to its long growth period. And they are often sold at a hefty price.
The Monstera albo is a lot harder to find than the Thai Monstera because of its natural reproduction rather than lab production.
And it is an even slower grower than the Thai. Taking its rarity into consideration, one should expect Albo borsigiana to be more expensive.
Much like the Thai Monstera, the Albo borsigiana thrives best in areas of bright natural light as long as it is indirect light. Direct UV rays may end up burning the leaves.
The Albo borsigiana easily adapts to its surrounding light conditions.
If areas in your house are generally shaded, a grow light may come in handy.
Watering the Albo
The watering routine of the Albo borsigiana is similar to that of the Thai Monstera.
Too much water is not good for this plant, so be sure to keep the soil moist without soaking the roots.
There is nothing complicated about watering the albo.
Water your Albo variegata about once a week or when the top inches of the soil is dry.
Water more frequently in warmer seasons and less in colder seasons.
This was a very brief outline of the light and water requirements of these Monstera varieties and there are a few more care tips that will not be discussed here.
You should, however, now be an expert on variegated Monstera plants, where they come from and how they are produced.
So go ahead and find a few reliable online sellers with good customer reviews or find a good online bidding site to get your hands on one of these beauties.
Because even though they come at monster prices, posting plenty of pictures or adding new profile pictures would definitely boost your plant page popularity, and they will leave your house looking modern and trendy!